Monday, 14 September 2009

16 years after, Dream remains fresh at AREF

WITH the theme Making Hope Real, the African Refugees Foundation (AREF) recently celebrated its 16th anniversary at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
Present to celebrate with the foundation were friends, trustees and patrons of AREF and lovers of arts. The event, which was also used to raise funds, started with a performance from the Crown Troupe of Africa, and an opening remark by the Honorary President, Chief (Mrs.) Opral Benson, who spoke on the importance of peace and why Nigerian should work towards ensuring peace reigns in the country. Opral said, “our efforts as a humanitarian organisation in special consultative status with United Nations ECOSOC would be meaningless if our peace, concerns, social developments and various achievements in Nigeria and Africa are not given wider recognition; and if the wisdom, contributions and energy of various organisations and individuals inside and outside the government, who have assisted us with their counsel, time, expertise and resources are not recognised.” While pointing out that it is essential for meaning to be given to all achievements of AREF, she called on everybody to support and identify with the foundation, as it beckons on individuals and institutions to endow projects and programmes. “To continue our work, as we turn 16, we are inviting everyone, everywhere to embrace our vision, our hopes and our quest for justice, peace and social development,” she said. After her presentation there was an interlude with performances by the junior arm of the Crown Troupe of Africa, who were dressed in war like clothes, and Jojo Body Beat. A talk by the founder of AREF, Amb. Segun Olusola followed. The art patriarch drew the attention of the guests to the strangers-indigenes dichotomy. He said, “if we do not confront this dichotomy, we may be running into another civil war, problem even AREF cannot do anything about. I hope we would be able to convince our friends to stop pointing hands at people as being strangers.” Among the guests, who came to celebrate with AREF were former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Chief Newton Jibunoh, Mr. Segun Sofowote, and the Fadesewa of Simawa Autonomous Community (near Sagamu), Oba Gbenga Sonuga and Aremo Taiwo Allimi. Others included Otunba Yinka Lawal-Solarin, Chief Kesington Adebutu, Chief Tunde Oloyede and the Director General of Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), Prof. Tunde Babawale. The Crown Troupe of Africa in its dance-drama mimicked some of the happenings in relation to government-citizens interaction in Lagos and Nigeria. Most of the guests made financial commitment with a promise to do more when called to do so.

To be a Millionaire, think like Aroma
BY florence Utor
When Osezua Osahon, the University of Benin law undergraduate won N5 million in the multi-million naira game show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, he instantly hit the headlines, as the man who broke the jinx to walk away with that amount from the show since its debut in October 2004.
However, another contestant, Ufodike Chimuanya Egwuchukwu Aroma, has brought the ceiling down by proving that with reading everything that comes your way, it is possible to win the ultimate prize of N10 million from the MTN quiz show.
The Nnewi, Anambra State-born dude, Aroma, who resigned from Diamond Bank in 2005, to start a steel business, is the last of his parent’s five children.

Aroma, 36, who entered the game show through the online version, is a widely travelled and well-informed graduate of Geography from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
Interestingly, he didn’t use any lifeline until he got to the N5 million question, though he demanded to drink water in the course of the show.
The latest millionaire says that he felt so happy with the kind of welcome he was given and the way the contestants were briefed. “We were told in clear terms that we should perish the thoughts of cheating; we should just relax and catch fun… and, who knows, one of us might carry the ultimate prize at the end of the day. I tell you those words were encouraging; and now, it has come to pass, I have made the dream of everybody who has been on this show and has followed on television. Perhaps my name Aroma meaning ‘good year’ has caught up with me today.”
He continues, “a friend of mine on this show had not been able to scale the Fastest Fingers First (FFF) segment before. Even another brilliant lady friend of mine was once here and could not be on the hot seat because of this same FFF. So, for me to have been able to scale through means something and I owe it to the pep talk before the game, which really calmed me. It was not easy for me, because FFF was my biggest fear.”

Beaming with smiles, he told The Guardian that he intends to put a major part of the cash into his steel business and give his mother some sum.
The new millionaire, who is a twin, says he does not have a fiancĂ©e, “though there is a lady I came across recently, and I hope things will work out now that the situation is different.”
And on what he has to say to MTN/Ultima for making him a millionaire, his prompt response was gratitude. “This show is wonderful. MTN has done well. I am thankful to them. My thanks also go to Ultima Production for putting this up all these years.

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